Friday, July 25, 2008

R. L. Stine and other titles

Note: New R.L. Stine books are much nicer to read than yellowed, falling apart books. Not that this makes a real difference in circulation, but if you have very popular titles in your library, some might need to be replaced.

That said, the newest series, Fear Street Nights, is really quite horrible. Premise: High school seniors sneak out of their homes and run about Fear Street at night, takes artifacts from the ramshackle Fear mansion before it is torn down. Of course, these items are directly connected to Angelica Fear, about whom I last read in the Cheerleaders series. And here she is, back again, possessing teenagers so that she can kill those who stole from her in horrible ways, many involving cockroaches coming out of their mouths or blood spurting from their ears.

The teens manage to swill some beer, bully classmates, and engage in other unattractive and undesirable behaviours. After a while, I started to hope that the green gaseous cloud of Angelica Fear will just descend on the barkeep at the bar built on top of the mansion site. And really, with that sort of mortality rate, wouldn't people start to move away from the area? The titles are Moonlight Secrets, Midnight Game, and Darkest Dawn.

That said, I didn't mind The Rich Girl, which had a somewhat moral tone-- if you steal money that doesn't belong to you, the guilt might drive you mad before your friends gaslight you into believing you have killed one of them. Had its moments. There is a new copy available. The Perfect Date also was pretty good, and students who don't immediately understand that Rosha Nelson is really Sharon Noles will learn a little about anagrams at the end.

Denise Vega's Fact of Life #31 had way too much about midwifery and child birth for it to be all that interesting to middle schoolers, so I'll pass on that. L'Engle's posthumous publication of her 1940s novel, The Joys of Love also lacks appeal for this age. I would get that only for hard core L'Engle fans. Dobkin's Neptune's Children started out okay (freak plague kills all the adults, stranding a bunch of children in an amusement park), but I couldn't get into it. I'll recommend O.T.Nelson's The Girl Who Owned the City for students seeking postapocalyptic tales. Gloria Whelan's Parade of Shadows was a historical novel that addressed an odd time and place, and those move slowly in my library.

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